The New Patriotic Party has been tagged as an Akan party by many opposition parties and individuals, notable among these are Dr. Ekow Spio Garbrah and Nana Akomea of the NPP. The failure of the late vice president Dr Aliu Mahama to secure the party’s backing to become the flagbearer after Kuffour has been cited as an example of the exclusivity of the NPP to Akans.
But is the party really an Akan party?, if not, whats its connection to the North that it enjoys so much support there especially in the Upper West Region?
Dankwa-Dombo-Busia tradition may sound familiar to you if you have any iota of interest in politics in Ghana. These three are seen as the forebears who brought into being what we now call the New Patriotic Party. But it wasn’t always known as NPP. Trace the history of the party and you will find it’s an amalgamation of various small parties, formed by people of different ethnic backgrounds and political ideologies.
After Ghana attained its independence on 6 March 1957, the Parliament of Ghana passed the Avoidance of Discrimination Act, 1957 (C.A. 38), which banned all parties and organizations that were confined to or identifiable to any racial, ethnic or religious groups with effect form 31 December 1957. The title of the Act was: An Act to prohibit organizations using or engaging in tribal, regional, racial and religious propaganda to the detriment of any community, or securing the election of persons on account of their tribal, regional or religious affiliations and for other purpose connected therewith.
This law meant that all the existing political parties would become illegal. These parties included the Northern People’s Party, Muslim Association Party, National Liberation Movement (NLM), Anlo Youth Organization, Togoland Congress and the Ga Shifimokpee. They therefore merged under the leadership of Kofi Abrefa Busia, leader of the NLM as the United Party.
THE NORTHERN LINK
The Northern People’s Party NPP’s leader was Simon Diedong Dombo, the traditional chief of Duori in the Upper west Region. Formed in 1954, the party contested the 1954 election and the 1956 election. In November 1957 it merged with other opposition parties against the Convention People’s Party to form the United Party.
Founding members of the party also included Mumuni Bawumia, J.A. Braimah, Tolon Naa Yakubu Tali, Adam Amandi, Kaleo Jatoe, Naa Abeyifaa Karbo, Imoru Salifu and C. K. Tedam.(Wikipedia)
It is out of the United Party UP that the current NPP(New Patriotic Party) emerged, a name inspired by the old NPP(Northern Peoples Party). Therefore claims that NPP is purely an Akan party is false although it is evident that the party’s leadership is Akan dominated, the Northern influence cannot be overlooked. It must be admitted that the Northern founding fathers hasn’t been celebrated as they should and members of the Northern caucus haven’t risen to occupy positions commensurate of their contribution to the party and must be up and doing.
On the part of the party, positive discrimination or what is termed Affirmative action policies must be pursued in order to ensure the party’s national ranks sends a strong message of regional balance and ethnic diversity. Dombo and all the Northern founding and contributing fathers must be duly acknowledged and celebrated by the party.